Big West’s top-ranked Long Beach State 49ers clinched a win against second place Cal State Fullerton softball with a 5-4 victory in the eighth inning of the afternoon game at the 49er Softball Complex.
Long Beach State kept its 11-game winning streak intact and improved to 9-1 in conference play, while the Titans dropped to 7-3 in conference and 18-15 overall, snapping the team’s season-best five-game winning streak.
“We had a couple of mistakes that let them get the ‘W’ and us the loss,” Titans Head Coach Michelle Gromacki said.
Titan pitcher Candice Baker suffered the loss, falling to 8-6 after pitching 7.1 innings. Brooke Weekley was the relief pitcher for a portion of the bottom of the fifth inning, relieving Baker after the 49ers tied the game at three.
In the first two innings, both teams were playing evenly, as neither team allowed more than four batters to come up at bat.
The Titans jumped ahead in the third inning when Katie Gollhardt’s ground out with the bases loaded plated Crystal Vierya.
They added another run when Baker found a gap in right field to score Lindsey Bashor.
The Titans did not score again until the fifth inning when a line drive to the gap in right field by Bashor brought home Vierya after she was hit for the second time by the 49er pitcher Meredith Cervenka.
Vierya holds the team record for being hit by a pitch in a season with 11.
Still, the 49ers were not willing to let go of their first place, even with the Titans’ 3-0 lead into the fifth inning.
Finally, the 49ers decided to fire back in the bottom of the fifth when Kourtnee Gervasi hit a home run over the right field fence, scoring Melanie McCauley and Brooke LeSage to even the game at three.Lauren Johnson smacked a home run into left field to add the go-ahead run.
The Titans tied at 4-4 when 49er catcher LeSage’s error allowed Baker to score after a wild pitch.
The game led to extra innings, but the Titans could not score in the eighth, even with Baker up to bat and Kamekona on base. The 49ers would not take a chance with Baker as they intentionally walked her.
“I took it as a compliment,” Baker said. “The last time I was ever [intentionally] walked was in high school.”
The 49ers gained the victory after Lacy Tyler hit a line drive to a gap in left center field that drove in Jonae Perez for the game-winning run in a 5-4 victory.